DFS: Challenging some assumptions... before it's too late

By JOHN SAHLY – jsahly@shawmedia.com
Published:
Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) runs for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) runs for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) — Ben Margot

We are nine weeks into the NFL season, as good a time as any to do a bit of a wellness check when it comes to bias and how we approach who we are attacking when we roster players in daily fantasy sports.

By now, most of your preseason assumptions have either been confirmed or rejected. But just in case, let's go over a few that can help you when it comes to selecting players and finding values going forward.

Assumption No. 1: The Denver Broncos have an elite defense.

This is half-true. I'm still pretty much never rostering wide receivers against the "No Fly Zone" of the Broncos' secondary. Denver is still the best in the league against wide receivers in fantasy, allowing just 9.6 points against.

But against the run? I'm actually looking to attack the Broncos where I can. They've allowed back-to-back 100-plus yard rushers in Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray. Denver is a bottom-eight defense in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. Next up is the Saints and their timeshare of Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower. Both RBs are reasonably priced in a game with an over/under set at 49 as of press time.

Assumption No. 2: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a funnel defense

Before the season, the Bucs were a popular pick to attack against the pass, but to stay away from when it comes to the run game.

That hasn't turned out to be true. Tampa is still awful against the pass, evidenced by Derek Carr's 513 yards and four touchdowns a couple of weeks ago. But the Bucs can't stop the run, either. They give up the seventh-most points to running backs, and most of that comes on the ground rather than on checkdown catches by RBs.

Next up: Look at Jordan Howard and the Bears against Tampa. Howard is priced toward the top of the mid-range, but may be a contrarian pick this week in a lower-total game.

Assumption No. 3: Aaron Rodgers is always a safe play

The Packers' leader just doesn't look the same this year, does he? The struggles we saw toward the end of last year have continued into this season, and as long as he remains priced as one of the top three quarterbacks, I can't really justify paying up for him.

Rodgers has thrown for 300 yards just once this season, and before that you have to go all the way back to Week 10 of 2015 for another 300-yard game. He's missing on some of his big shots down the field, and although he's added some rushing yards to the mix the past two weeks, the high ceiling just isn't there anymore.

It's not like Rodgers has been awful, he just hasn't been Aaron Rodgers for a large enough sample size, so your daily fantasy salary cap dollars are best spent elsewhere.

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